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A Flemish newspaper that has covered a range of topics since 1929.
No More Monkey Business: Antwerp Zoo Bans Woman From Seeing Her Chimp Chum
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

No More Monkey Business: Antwerp Zoo Bans Woman From Seeing Her Chimp Chum

"He loves me and I love him. Why would you take that away?"

There's only so much monkeying around the Antwerp Zoo will tolerate. Belgian woman Adie Timmermans learned this recently, having developed what she called a special "relationship" with Chita, a 38-year-old chimpanzee whom she visited almost every day for four years. Zoo authorities now think the bond might have grown too strong and decided to ban Timmermans from visiting her monkey friend.

Whenever Timmermans came to the zoo, Chita would walk over to the glass enclosure, blowing kisses and scratching his head. So why separate the interspecies pals? Sarah Lafaut, the zoo's mammal curator, tells Belgian news channel ATV that Chita ended up paying too much attention to Timmermans and was at risk of being excluded from his primate peers.

Adie Timmermans and Chita kissing through the Antwerp Zoo glass enclosure — Source: De Telegraaf screenshot

The Belgian woman received a letter from the zoo, saying that she could still visit, but was only allowed to take a quick look at the chimpanzee habitat. As curator Lafaut explains to ATV, "Of course, we are happy when our visitors connect with the animals, but animal welfare comes first here."

Chita's interest in humans likely comes from her growing up as a household pet until the age of 8, when he was given to the zoo because of behavioral issues. While he eventually learned to live among other chimpanzees, his attachment to people remained.

As for Timmermans, she believes she is being unfairly singled out, as she tells Flemish newspaper the Nieuwsblad: "That animal really loves me and I love him. Why would you take that away?"
This Is Not An Omelet: Belgians Try To Crack Surreal Translation Mystery
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

This Is Not An Omelet: Belgians Try To Crack Surreal Translation Mystery

A road sign for a 'detour' gets lost in translation.

In a country with three official languages, French, Dutch and German, it's inevitable that some translations are going to get scrambled. But in Jette, a small town in Belgium, a recent road sign alerted drivers of an "Omeletje." Yes, that means "omelet" in Dutch, though it seems the translator simply jumbled the Dutch word for detour: "Omleiding."

As the Brussels Times quipped, several passers-by "questioned if the sign was really pointing people towards the well-known egg dish."

Photo: JorisPoschet via Twitter

Flemish news outlet Het Nieuwsblad quoted Bernard Van Nuffel, local chief for Public Works in the town north of Brussels, who said such language mishaps often occur when construction supervisors poach bad translations from the Internet. But right from the start, he said, this story smelled rotten, as the sign also included the French word "omelette" instead of "déviation" for "detour." And Van Nuffel noted, there was no traffic detour in the area.

Is there some creative wordplay being fried up? Van Nuffel suspects the work of a mysterious artist, as a similar sign appeared a few months ago in Laeken, a Brussels suburb.

Indeed, one local commented on Twitter a reminder that the 20th-century master of surrealism René Magritte was also Belgian. What is perhaps his most famous work, The Treachery of Images, features an illustration of a pipe, with the words (in French): This is not a pipe.

So you decide: Is that an omelet or a detour? Or both?

North Macedonia's candidate performs during the 1st semifinal of the Eurovision contest, which started in Rotterdam

The Latest: Bad COVID Record In India, Gaza Gets Worse, Italian Village Reappears

Welcome to Wednesday, where the fighting in Gaza intensifies despite international calls for ceasefire, COVID deaths hit a new record in India and a flooded Italian village resurfaces. Le Monde"s correspondent Louis Imbert reports from the West Bank where more and more young supporters of the ruling Fatah party are joining the clashes with Israeli forces.

• Israel-Gaza fighting intensifies despite ceasefire calls: Israeli forces carried out dozens of airstrikes on Gaza and Hamas militants continued to launch rockets on Wednesday, despite international calls for a ceasefire. On Tuesday, France called for a UN Security Council resolution on the violence, as the death toll in Gaza rises to 219 and to 12 in Israel.

• Daily COVID deaths hit record in India: India reported the highest daily COVID death toll of any country, with 4,529 deaths in the last 24 hours, driving the overall toll to more than 283,000. The country registers the world's third highest number of deaths from the pandemic after the U.S. and Brazil.

• Pelosi calls for China Olympics "diplomatic boycott": U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the US and other major countries to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, over China's reported treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

• Lebanon foreign minister quits after ISIS comments: Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe resigned after his comments on the rise of ISIS in Gulf States provoked a diplomatic backlash.

• Criminal fraud inquiry over Trump Organization: The New York attorney general's office says that its investigation over the Trump Organization was no longer "purely civil." New York attorneys have been scrutinizing former President Trump's financial business before he took office.

• Ex-FARC leader killed in Venezuela: Former prominent leader of the Colombian FARC rebel group Jesus Santrich has been killed in Venezuela, in a military operation led by Colombia.

• Italy's lost village resurfaces: Repair work at a reservoir in the Italian lake of Resia, in the north of the country, has revealed the ruins of Curon, a village that had been flooded to make way for a hydroelectric plant in the 1950s.

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